Developing culturally congruent weight maintenance programs for African American church members

J. Paul Seale, Judith Fifield, Y. Monique Davis-Smith, Rebecca Satterfield, Joy Goens Thomas, Bonnie Cole, Mark J. Atkinson, John Mark Boltri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives. Developing community-based and culturally congruent weight loss maintenance programs is an important component of weight reduction interventions in high-risk populations. This qualitative investigation was conducted to guide development of faith-based weight maintenance programs for African American church members. Design. Twenty African American church members who previously participated in a church-based group weight loss program were recruited to participate in focus groups. This qualitative inquiry focused on the role of faith in maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as healthy eating and regular physical activity. Within these groups, a nominal group process was used to identify activities and language to be included within a faith-based maintenance program. Results. Content analysis identified seven conceptual domains that participants thought were important aspects of a faith-based weight maintenance program: (1) accountability for change targets, (2) programmatic tools, (3) group benefits and support, (4) keys to successful behavior change, (5) keys to church and programmatic level success, (6) addressing barriers, and (7) faith. The faith sub-domains included faith in the Lord, using the body for God, and a spiritual focus. The nominal group process resulted in 11 recommended components for a faith-based weight maintenance program. The top four included scriptures and prayers are walk of faith, healthy diet, exercise, and focusing on God. Conclusions. The results suggest that integrating faith themes into a weight loss maintenance program may increase its long-term impact on participants' health behavior change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-167
Number of pages16
JournalEthnicity and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Church
  • Church-based
  • Community
  • Community-based
  • Diabetes
  • Interventions
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Prevention
  • Translational research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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